From The Editor
Summer days bring lots of
sunshine and outdoor recreational
activities with them. Now is the
time to get out and enjoy the warm
weather. If you can't take the heat,
try going outside early in the morning
or late in the afternoon, while
it is cooler.
America celebrates the anniversary
of her independence from England
on July 4th with mesmerizing fireworks
of every kind. Freedom lovers everywhere
welcome the opportunity to catch
either a neighborhood firework displays
or a large community display, where
everyone gathers together to watch
1/2 hour of fireworks and then spend
2 hours trying to get home. The
best part of the holiday is getting
to spend time cooking out or just
picnicing with family and friends.
Many families today are separated
by too many miles. The family support
system that was once taken for granted
is absent for many young people
who are struggling to establish
themselves as independent adults.
We are so busy just trying to keep
up with everything that we sometimes
forget to keep in touch with the
people who were once our whole world.
That is why holidays are so important.
They remind us to renew our connections,
even if it is just a phone call
to say "Hello" and "I'm
doing fine". Holidays force
us to stop and take a break in our
busy lives. We tend to forget how
much we need that and how much we
need to stay connected.
We also tend to forget how much
our loved ones need to hear our
words of encouragement and caring.
Try using humor to lighten the conversation
when things become disagreeable
and don't forget to take some time
out for yourself. Having fun doing
the things you enjoy is the best
stress reduction technique there
This month's Artist of The Month
is Thornton Utz. You can read his
below and you can view a number
of fine examples of his work on
our 'Children Art Plates' page.
We have also included a few humorous
articles that you may enjoy reading.
The first article is "Thank
You For Your Patience",
a look at being on hold and what
to do while you are waiting. The
second article is "Death
To Fleas" written by someone
who has never heard of Advantage
Flea Drops. The third article is
Maintenance - 10 Tips to Know Before
You Mow ", written by a
woman who has moved to the country
only to find that her grass grows
back while she sleeps.
Have a wonderful summer and don't
forget to have fun! Put it on your
Profile: Thornton Utz 1914-1999
Thornton Utz was born on November
15, 1914 in Memphis, Tennessee.
He is best known for his portrait
of Princess Grace of Monaco.
From an early age Thornton enjoyed
drawing and when he was old enough
he set his mind to earning enough
money to attend the American Academy
of Arts in Chicago, where he later
His initial recognition came
from his work as an illustrator.
During the 1940s and the 1950s
Thornton worked as a commercial
artist. He designed illustrations
for clients such as Coca-Cola,
General Electric, Johnson S Wax,
Shell Oil, and Ford Motor Co.
Thorton's work also appeared
on book covers and more than fifty
'Saturday Evening Post' covers,
as well as the covers of Cosmo,
McCall, L.H.J. and Sports Afield.
His illustrations were seen in
most of the leading American magazines
during that time and in many European
ones as well.
To further his expertise, Thornton
explored classic figurine painting,
portraiture, sculpture, stained
glass design and architecture.
International fame was soon achieved
and he became one of the country's
leading contemporary painters.
portraits of many famous people
including Princess Grace and President
Jimmy Carter, with his wife Rosalynn
and his daughter Amy. The portrait
of Princess Grace hangs in the
Monaco palace. He also painted
lovely portraits of children.
His latter years were spent living
on Siesta Key in Florida, where
he became a member of the Ringling
School of Art Board of Directors.
He was a volunteer for Habitat
for Humanity and an elder at First
Presbyterian Church of Sarasota.
He painted numerous portraits
for local residents during the
50 years that he lived on Siesta
One of Thornton's most serious
undertakings was a 1987 commission
to design stained-glass windows
for the Catholic Church of the
Incarnation in Sarasota. The glass
scenes were bold in color and
reflected a contemporary interpretation.
It took two years to design and
complete the project. He also
designed the crucifix, ceramic
panels of the Stations of the
Cross, and windows for the circular
chapel as well as producing sculptures
for the church.
Thornton Utz's work have been
on display at the Air Force Academy
in Colorado, the Pentagon, and
the Smithsonian Institution in
Washington, D.C. Numerous examples
of Thornton's work can also be
found throughout the Sarasota
area, in public buildings and
in private homes.
He left behind
countless memoirs of his artistic
gift. The internationally known
illustrator and painter died in
1999, at the age of 85.
You For Your Patience
by Carol Dorman
You For Your Patience (We’ll
Be With You As Soon As Possible)
How many times have you heard that
when you make a phone call? A phone
call about something absolutely
vital to your current state of mind?
A matter of utmost importance to
the nation’s welfare - nay
- the WORLD’S!! (All right,
that may be a bit exaggerated -
but hey, I’m annoyed!)
It seems that every corporation,
government department, odds and
sods subsidiary - in fact any entity
that has its own logo - these days
is incapable of providing real live
people to talk to on a “first
Of course there is the option of
eventually talking to a real, live
person. At least that’s what
we’re told - by the machines.
But can you really trust a machine
that cannot feel your pain? Ah,
I digress – yes a real human
may become available as long as
you have a good 20 minutes or so
to spare. (a conservative figure)
Now there’s a lot one can
do in 20 minutes while waiting for
the real live person to materialise
at the other end of the phone line.
Wash some dishes, clean something,
think about cleaning something.
A fully qualified Domestic Engineer
could even have a batch of scrumptious
bikkies in the oven!
But then we’re faced with
another dilemma. What if they turn
up and I’m not there? They’ll
hang up and, what’s worse,
they’ll think I’m not
the really nice person I am because
I wasn’t there to show them
what a really nice person I am and…
#**#$#%%# BURNT BISCUITS!!
So you stay there, on the end of
the phone, humming to the dulcet
strains of “I Left My Soul
in Some Elevator” played in
D minor (hey, isn’t everything?)
on something pretending to be a
baby grand but is actually computer-generated
by the same digital dolly apologising
for your inconvenience and assuring
you that your call is important
And wait for your call to progress
in the queue.
© Carol Dorman
About The Author
Carol Dorman is a Commercial Writer and owner of Quill Writing
Services. Quill provides compelling content for websites,
newsletters and can fulfil all your writing needs. When words
count, count on Quill!
Death to Fleas
by: Mary Arnold
Summers here in Texas
can be brutal! The intense heat,
the humidity. Not a summer passes
without hearing of at least one
person collapsing from heat exhaustion.
I am fortunate to possess what every
Texan aspires to own: air conditioning.
Now that might seem as mundane as,
say owning an indoor toilet, but
truth be told, there's still many
people here in Texas today who do
not have A/C. In fact, until I was
thirteen, I also lived in a house
with no A/C.
But I digress from the subject of
this entry, which is FLEAS. I only
mention that about the heat here
in Texas as an example of however
bad it may be, it does not even
come within spitting distance of
the horrors of FLEAS.
See, with the coming of summer,
the heat and humidity, we also get,
you guessed it, FLEAS. Humans might
dislike excessive heat, but these
blood-sucking creatures LOVE the
heat. It's their breeding time.
People may do most of their conceiving
during the winter months, but not
FLEAS! Oh no, they like it hot,
apparently a fan of the movie.
Anyways, we have three cats, one
inside cat and two outside cat.
Now, dealing with these fleas every
year, you'd think that we would
have become smarter about it. But
no, each June when the FLEAS start
hatching, we do nothing to take
any precautions until it's too late.
What can I say? We've slept since
So, our outside cats pick up the
fleas, and presents them to our
inside cat. Yes, I know what you're
thinking: Why don't you keep your
outside cats outside? Like I said,
the FLEAS only get bad in early
summer. The rest of the year they
are not a problem; so we forget
their existence until, you guessed
it, it's too late!
For the last two weeks, I have been
cleaning my house much more than
normal. I've been vacuuming my WHOLE
house every day! Constantly shaking
flea powder on the inside cat, Brat.
I should just throw her fleabag
butt out the door, but she's just
too pretty! A holy terror for sure
(hence the name) but beautiful nonetheless.
Besides, she's just a baby still,
and it's not her fault she has FLEAS.
Poor thing, she runs and tries to
hide whenever she sees me coming
toward her now!
So, back to cleaning. My house SHINES,
it SPARKLES! Not a dustbunny anywhere.
Martha Stewart would be proud. But
the FLEAS remain. I've spent at
least fifty dollars on flea and
ant death powder to put on carpets
and floors. The darn things won't
sit still long enough to be killed.
They jump and jump and jump all
over my SPARKLING house, evading
the death powder. How inconsiderate
is that? My daughter, complaining
of killer dust clouds in the house,
ran away to a friend's house last
weekend where she could, presumably,
breathe without gasping.
But still they're here.
I was tired. I was discouraged.
I was just about to admit defeat
and remove myself to another lodging
and let the FLEAS take over this
THEN the fleas crossed the line.
All the time I had been engaged
in open warfare with the FLEAS,
I had not felt any personal animosity
towards them. They did their best
to suck my blood; I did my best
to stop them. Just the way of nature,
right? I didn't hate them; not them
personally. Of course, I hated it
when they bit me, but I didn't hate
them, even though I was doing my
best to kill them.
But then, like I hinted at above,
they crossed the line. They, in
their arrogance and perceived superiority,
committed an error they will soon
regret. One of their bloodsucking
soldiers, either ignorant of or
completely disregarding the rules
of warfare with humans, that is,
to stay within the bounds of feet
and ankles, decided to reconnaissance
my son's ear. He quickly paid for
But it does not end with only the
one transgressor dying a horrible
death (being squashed between my
fingernails). Oh no! Because now
my blood is boiling! My hatred is
rampaging! I will hunt down every
single flea and make them ALL pay
for the sins of the one!
DEATH TO ALL FLEAS!
About The Author
Mary Arnold holds a B.A. in literature
and history. She is an author
which is a site for Writers.
Her writing portfolio may be viewed
Lawn Maintenance-10 Tips to Know
Before You Mow
by Nola L. Kelsey
Practical survival skills should
be fifty percent of what we study
in school! Languishing twelve to
sixteen years in the bowels of our
education system should not leave
American citizens unprepared to
cope with perpetually running toilets.
A burned out taillight should not
knock our world off its axis. This
chasm of neglected wisdom is not
simply filled with the obvious auto
and home maintenance issues. All
the little stupidities reflect on
Years ago, I was sitting in an I-5
traffic jam with my sister, August.
Innocently I remarket, “I
hate trying to tune in that radio
station while I’m driving.”
Without provocation August reached
down and yanked the unsuspecting
radio button straight out of its
place. Metallic skeletal parts were
revealed. Grey whales migrating
off the coast heard my gasp. Then,
get this; she shoved the hapless
button back in – all the way!
Even if the traffic had been moving,
I was in no condition to drive.
This blatant assault on my automotive
electronics was uncalled for. Worse
was learning at age 28, I was the
only person in America uninformed
as to how radios were set. My thoughts,
if you can call them that, seem
silly now. I believed pushing the
buttons placed the dial in the vicinity
of various stations. Only lucky
drivers and folks who listened to
Christian music had buttons that
coincidently landed on the exact
preferred position. This knowledge
graced me just before digital. Lord,
how I hate tuning in digital.
All society has an obligation to
pick up where floundering education
systems go astray. Teach children
the little things. Change vacuum
belts as a family. Award prizes
to offspring who can find the level
of power steering fluid and above
all else, instill in them the skill
to read a ballot.
In keeping with a heartfelt desire
to better Planet Earth, I’d
like to pass along ten things nobody
ever told me about lawn mowing,
the country way. When I moved to
the hinterland I was naive to the
tribulations of rural landscaping.
My massive country lawn looked innocent
enough. Then the escrow closed.
The following was learned via trial
and error - mostly error.
One: Always carry wire cutters when
mowing – While the majority
of rusty old wire shot through your
leg can be extracted with a few
good tugs, a surprisingly large
proportion entwine around ankle
bones in a manner no physician or
physicist can explain. With a handy
set of wire cutters excess can be
trimmed. Overage tends to snag on
the gas pedal when diving to the
Two: Recycle –Be sure to have
the hospital staff return wires
once they rinse your Achilles Tendon
away. You can reuse it (the wire
or the tendon) for fencing projects.
No doubt this convenience was the
reasoning behind 130 years of country
landowners discarding litter in
what otherwise would appear to be
a careless manner.
Three: Remember the Choke - When
the mower keeps coughing and sputtering
to a stop, or any other time you
want to choke the dam thing, push
this lever. It does nothing. To
get the sadistic contraption running
you’ll need gasoline.
Four: Beware Safety Features –
Modern mowers posses a handle lever
that shuts mowers down every time
the operator looks to the left.
This quadruples the number of pull
starts needed. The American Academia
of Carpal Tunnel Physicians sponsor
safety levers. Mowers also come
with what is called a Plastic Do-Hickie.
A Do-Hickie’s only function
is to display a sticker reminding
people not to shove their hands
or feet inside a running lawn mower.
Gardeners only do this to remove
grass clogs. Ironically Do-Hickies
cause 99.96% of grass clogs.
Five: Stay Hydrated – In the
country, heat stoke is as much a
right of spring passage as bat guano
in the kitchen pantry. The ecstasy
of eighty-degree temps after nine
months of winter collides head on
with an obsessive desire to get
every last flippin’ grass
blade perfectly level. Before golf
course precision is ever achieved,
‘Type A’ mowers will
be face down on the carpet. With
ice packs strategically perched
on major arterial lines, you’ll
wonder, “Could the shag rug
be trimmed just a tad more evenly?”
Six: Budget – Country folks
can purchase their fashionable shit-beat
trucks for less than a thousand
dollars. This elevates you to the
social status of a Ferrari driver
in the city. However your lawn mower
will cost you three times as much.
Tractor mowers are a must out here.
The lawns are too massive. Mowing
with a push mower during spring
would keep property owners circling
24/7. Only idiots and starving authors
use push mowers.
Seven: Remember General Maintenance
- A Clanking serenade resulting
from the first start up of the morning
is not unusual. What happened is
this: Overnight grass builds up
underneath your mower. Then, flakes
have dried to the point where you
could use tin snips to cut it into
a disk and burn yourself a springtime
fresh CD (Green Day?). To remove
the offending mass grab an ice pick
and go after the dehydrated flakes
like Sharon Stone during mating
Eight: Electric Mowers: Don’t
- Even if you could lug 300 yards
of cord, it’s a spectacularly
bad idea. When several dogs and
a milk goat play ‘chase’
under the extension, all hell, and
the cord, will break loose. Hopefully
this will occur prior to overloading
the freaky little round country
fuses and setting your ancient electrical
box ablaze. In a town like mine
where there’s an all-volunteer
Fire Department, the carnage could
“Hey, Howard, I see that city
gal’s home is ablaze over
there. Got any marshmallows?”
“Sure Pap. Ya know I told
her she should not buy that Rowski
house just a few years after she
The only saving grace is with all
the unsoldered plumbing in this
oasis of handyman dropouts, the
houses themselves won’t burn
below the second floor.
Nine: Use the Section Technique
– The theory here is you divide
your lawn into a section for each
member of the household. Everyone
contributes. Nobody gets overwhelmed
by the workload. For example: assign
your teenager to mow section 1 on
Tuesdays - then you mow it. You
assign your husband to mow section
2 on Wednesdays – then you
mow it. Request your every-present
brother-in-law mow section 3 on
Thursday – and again, you
do the work. Everyone takes a turn.
Hell, if you have any other males
around; people, bulls, aspen trees,
give them a section. What do you
have to loose?
Ten: Do Not Get Discouraged! - Never
let grass win! During spring, folks
can get discouraged. They wake up
to note their freshly mowed lawn
grew back while they slept. Fact
is, by mowing barefoot you will
feel the new grass poke up as you
pass. It’s just the country
* Disclaimer: Computer hard drives
vary. In the event you insert a
lawn clipping diskette into your
CD burner and your hard drive fails
to function please do not file suit
against the manufacturer or the
author. We cannot be held accountable
for the quality of your grass. Countersuits
will request you promptly cease
swimming in the gene pool.
About The Author:
Nola L. Kelsey
Country Lawn Maintenance - 10 Tips
to Know Before You Mow is a book
excerpt from the satire Bitch Unleashed:
The Harsh Realities of Goin’
Country by Nola L. Kelsey. A free
e-book copy of Bitch Unleashed is
available on Nola Kelsey’s
web site at http://www.nolakelsey.com/.
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